Posted in Whistleblower Claims on August 24, 2016
The False Claims Act gives private citizens the power to put a stop to fraud, waste and abuse committed against the federal government. In many cases, this involves an insider at a company who, learning of fraud against the government, decides to “blow the whistle” against the employer. Recently, Brandon Peak of Butler Wooten & Peak helped just such an employee pursue a qui tam case against his employer. The company eventually agreed to pay more than $1 million to the federal government. For his role, the employee gets legal fees and just under $200,000.
The company involved, Sweet Dreams Nurse Anesthesia Inc, is in the business of supplying a wide range of anesthesiology services and nurse anesthetists in the medical industry. The lawsuit accused Sweet Dreams of providing kickbacks to doctors and hospitals in exchange for exclusive contracts. The kickbacks included free drugs and even funding for a new facility. Kickback schemes are a common method by which programs such as Medicare and Medicaid are defrauded of funds.
The employee in this case worked as a nurse anesthetist. Once he became a junior partner, he discovered several practices he believed to be in violation of state and federal law. At that point, he made the decision to put a stop to the fraudulent practices and contacted an attorney. This decision helped the government put an end to the illegal practices and enabled them to recoup some of the money lost to fraud.
Whistleblowers play a key role in protecting the government and taxpayers from unscrupulous practices. Anyone with knowledge of fraud against the government should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Source: Daily Report, “Anesthesia Services Firm Settles with Feds Over Kickback Allegations,” by Robin McDonald, 11 August 2016